Time Untime Review
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A well-written fantasy is often made even better when the author incorporates carefully-researched tidbits of ancient folklore. But, in her latest Dark-Hunter fantasy, Time Untime, author Sherrilyn Kenyon doesn’t include just one culture’s folklore; she uses them all.

While most people shrug off the idea that the world will end later this year, the Dark-Hunters know the truth: the Apocalypse is coming, and only one person can stop it.

Geologist Dr. Kateri Avani has devoted her life to studying science, so she doesn’t believe any of these ridiculous notions about the end of the world. Though her beloved grandmother believed in things like healing crystals and other magic, Kateri always shrugged it off as Native American superstition.

When her lab comes under attack and she’s rescued by a big, hulking man who’s appeared time and time again in her dreams, Kateri begins to wonder if her grandmother was right after all. What she still can’t believe, though, is the man’s claim that she’s a powerful being with an important job to do.

In her twenty-first Dark-Hunters novel, Kenyon assembles a decade’s worth of characters and mythologies into one big, complex apocalyptic fantasy. Instead of simply building on one culture’s history and mythology, Time Untime is a tangled web of cultures: Greek, Mayan, Native American, and others. There are vampires and gods and demons who come and go—sometimes getting little more than a fleeting mention. The characters who are supposed to represent time and untime, for instance, come and go in the course of just a few paragraphs.

For those who have followed the series religiously, the characters and their storylines may be relatively easy to follow—like the childhood stories of their oldest, dearest friends. For new readers, though, it’s a mind-boggling mess. After a while, it becomes easier to sort through what’s important and what isn’t, and the suspense begins to build—but, until then, it’s a pretty tiresome journey.

The main characters, meanwhile, don’t really help matters. Warrior Ren has spent 11,000 years wallowing in insecurity and self-pity, due to the mortal life of rejection and humiliation that he once lived. How’s that for baggage? Despite the fact that he’s the immortal, all-powerful, and absolutely gorgeous son of a goddess, he often acts like an awkward teenager. And while his sensitivity is supposed to make him endearing, it mostly just makes him pathetic. Kateri, on the other hand, is tough and sarcastic. When she first meets Ren, she treats him horribly—despite the fact that she’s seen visions of his troubled past.

The flawed characters and the complex story might have been much easier to overlook, though, if it weren’t for the awkward writing. At times, it feels ridiculously archaic and melodramatic. At other times, it’s silly and self-conscious. Kenyon seems to be trying way too hard to sound hip and clever—and, as a result, her characters say and think things that feel completely, laughably unnatural. Each page, it seems, contains at least one line that will make you roll your eyes—whether it’s something ridiculous like “he wasn’t exactly fiend of the month around here” or Kateri’s Oh snap or the fact that Kenyon makes ancient Greek warriors sound like characters from The Hangover.

While some aspects of this complex fantasy make it an intriguing read, the muddled mythologies and self-conscious writing make it a challenge to wade through. So unless you’re already well-versed in the mixed-up world of the Dark-Hunters, it’s probably best to stick with something simpler.

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